04/21/09 8:20 PM ET
Bucs turn to inexperienced backstops
Jaramillo and Diaz will have to fill in for injured Doumit
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
Pittsburgh recalled Robinzon Diaz from Triple-A Indianapolis on Tuesday to join Jason Jaramillo and form a two-man combination that is going to have to take on a much greater load than the Pirates ever anticipated. Jaramillo and Diaz competed for the backup catching job during Spring Training, with Jaramillo getting the edge because of his defensive strengths.
Jaramillo, who had only one start this season before Doumit's injury, will carry the bulk of the catching duties initially, though Diaz also will stay involved frequently.
"Jason has earned the right to see what he can do," Pirates manager John Russell said. "The main thing is keep them fresh and keep both of them playing, because we're going to need both of them. They'll be prepared. They're young, but they're good."
Diaz remains the stronger of the two on the offensive end, but Jaramillo has been working closely with the Major League pitching staff this season and already has impressed with how much he has learned in working with pitching coach Joe Kerrigan.
"When you decide you want to catch, this is why you take the job," Jaramillo said. "That's the responsibility that comes with it. And I wanted to catch because of that responsibility, that role of leadership, so I'm looking forward to this challenge. I'm ready to roll. I'm just here to hold the fort down and keep it going."
However, the fact the Pirates now have two catchers with such little big league experience would seem to be a reason for concern. General manager Neal Huntington said he'll explore potential external options, but there seems to be no urgency to acquire a more experienced backstop for the time being.
"People say you have to have a veteran catcher, but you look around baseball and catching is a rarity these days," Russell said. "Right now we're fortunate that we have these guys. We feel fortunate that we have two young guys who we think can do a good job."
In seven games for Triple-A Indianapolis this year, Diaz has gone 7-for-20 with three RBIs. Jaramillo has three singles in eight at-bats with the Pirates this season.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.